Teresa recalls two Italian prisoners of war being billeted on her father’s farm. One of the prisoners of war was called Mick and had red hair. Teresa’s father was very kind to them and treated them like gentlemen.
The prisoners of war were all issued with uniforms. When they attended Mass with the family Teresa’s father would insist that they not wear their uniform so that they did not stand out as being different.
The prisoners of war were originally sent to Rupertswood and then they went out to work on farms around Sunbury and Gisborne.
Some were billeted at the John Franklin Hotel in Sunbury and on a warm evening they would come out onto the verandah and sing much to the enjoyment of the neighbours who would come out to hear them.
When the war was over and they returned to their homes many kept in touch with the local families. Some even returning to visit.
Teresa’s mother Norah Millett donated the altar rails and Our Lady’s altar at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church. The altar rails were removed following Vatican II and sadly Our Lady’s altar was removed due to termite infestation. The tabernacle from the altar is now on display in the Historic Room.
Teresa also recalled that Father Kissane always referred to the nuns as “the holy women”.
Taken from an interview given in 2007
Used with permission